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Label: Humming Bird Records
Catalog ID: HB CD 6
Squidco Product Code: 6919
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Henry Kuntz-tenor saxophone
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A. 1-5 Ten Names of Peace
B. 6-7 Tenor of the Times (four tenors)
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Solo tenor saxophone work in multo-track improvisations inspired by a mixed-media presentation of saxophone and Balinese puppet theatre. Henry Kuntz has been involved in free jazz and free improvisation for more than 25 years. From 1973 to 1979, he published the internationally known and acclaimed newsletter-review Bells, a recognized authority in the field. He first recorded on tenor saxophone in 1977 on Henry Kaiser's Ice Death (Parachute 005). He has played musette and various wood flutes since 1981, miniature violins since 1983, gamelans and xylophones since 1988. He has recently begun playing the double-reed Moroccan rhaita. On his own label, Humming Bird Records, which he began in 1979, he has released 2 LPs, 16 cassettes, and 3 CDs of solo, group, and multi-tracked free improvisations.
"The diaphanous tenor of Wayang Saxophony Shadow Saxophone took flight like a light butterfly free of its silver cocoon. It happened as I prepared for two solo performances that featured the coming out of my Balinese shadow puppets. The puppets were entrusted to me by a homegrown cultural ambassador on the Indonesian island....
"The leather puppets, elaborately and colorfully painted but normally only seen as shadows on a white screen, were theatrically presented in open space to relate a Balinese story known as Desa Nama Kerta, The Ten Names of Peace. The tale is old, but it was recently newly produced in Bali to help relieve people's trauma from the bombings of 2002 and 2005. I felt that an adapted version of the epic might help us to hold the light in our own poisoned spiritual atmosphere, polluted by war, violence, and planetary disasters. The moral import of the story is that one cannot confront violence with more violence. Only by preserving and strengthening the life-giving principles embodied in music, dance and ritual - originally, gifts to humans from the gods - can we hope to restore harmony and balance in the world.
"In performance, the content of the Balinese tale served as thematic material on which to improvise. To align my playing with the character of the story, I felt prompted to take a fresh look at the saxophone. Instead of allowing the instrument - it's nature, it's history, even it's recent "free" history - to determine how I should play it, I decided to let the music-in- process suggest the manner of instrumental usage. This was as much an evolutionary as a conscious decision that came from working over a period of months with the puppets. The harmonics of blown breath emerged; and, from repeatedly vocalizing the story, the voice spontaneously asserted itself as an integral part of the music.
"The names of the pieces for four tenors are derived from the names of two sets of ancient Javanese gamelan known as sekati. In Yogyakarta, these orchestras play once each year for five days. The music is peculiarly stark and strong, yet sweet. The sounds of the gamelan sekati are said to confer great spiritual power on those who hear them." - Henry Kuntz, June 2006
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